Bend In the Road, A
7. Season of Goodbye
I shook my head. "Outside of the Shire is no place for a hobbit to be. I'm no traveler like yourself and besides," I faltered, "I am afraid I will not be able to resist casting myself into the sea once you have left my sight."
Frodo took me in his arms, and we were silent for a long moment until he spoke again. "Then ride with me to the edge of the Shire. We can say a proper goodbye there." I had nodded in agreement. How long ago this day had seemed when we had talked about it then! And now I could no longer turn my back on it. Dawn was staring me in the face. I felt no pain, only grief as hard and grey as a stone in my heart. Wrapping my shawl around my shoulders, I closed the door behind me and waited on my doorstep for Frodo.
All too soon, I heard the sound of hoofbeats. Frodo and Sam were coming up the road, Frodo on his pony and Sam on Bill. Sam was silent, and bore a heartbroken look in his eyes, but Frodo…it's hard for me to tell you what he looked like. So quiet and pale, like when he was sick, and sad to leave, of course…but also, strangely relieved. He saw me waiting and smiled, that wonderful sad smile I would never see again after that day. "Have you been waiting long, Lily? Come, Strider will bear you and me both."
With heavy heart, I walked out to the road, and Frodo lifted me up to ride before him on Strider. None of us spoke much on our way--each one was lost in his own thoughts, and yet all seemed to share in a strange communion. I could feel Frodo's arms around me and the warmth of his body. It was hard for me to believe I would never touch him again in life. To me it seemed as if he would always be with me, and maybe he still is, in a way. I wanted to cry, but I could not. Why weep? Frodo would have his peace. The chill of darkness would lift from his spirit at last. Any tears I shed would be for myself, left alone and childless.
The road ended, as all roads must, and our party reached the hedge which marked the borders of the Shire. I felt Frodo's hands going about my waist again, and I unwillingly climbed off the pony. I glanced at Sam, and my sorrow must have been written on my face, for he turned his back to us as Frodo dismounted. I shall always be grateful to him for that, for the small kindness he showed me in allowing me and Frodo a goodbye that would be ours alone.
Frodo took my hands in his and looked into my eyes. "Lily, you are so brave. No tears for the one who is going so far away?"
Tears did sting my eyes at the gently teasing tone of his voice, but I forced them back fiercely. "None for you, Frodo." I forced a smile. "You will be happy in those far lands. You will have no need of my simple tonics to heal the wounds of your spirit. Why should I weep? You will be happy…"
"You, I think, will not be." He had such a gift for seeing my true meaning. How I loved him for knowing those things no one else did! "You think that I abandon you, that I am leaving you forlorn, without even a child of mine to give you comfort. How wrong you are, beloved. I am leaving a part of myself with you. The part of me that could have made a happy life here in the Shire, the part of me that could have stayed with you forever. My love will always be with you, Lily."
The wisdom he had earned through so many trials comforted me as he continued to speak. "I don't know much of these matters, but I think that when we die, we are freed from the confines of this world. If it is at all possible for me, I will meet you there some day, beyond the stars."
"That gives me comfort, Frodo. How could it be otherwise? One day, we will be together there, beyond the circles of Middle-Earth. I know it. What better gift could be given to a great hero? I love you."
"I will always carry your love with me, and do not forget mine." He kissed me then, the last kiss we would ever have. I wanted to make it last forever, but I could only cling feebly to him as he forced himself to go. I watched him mount Strider, watched him as if I were one of the Valar looking down upon mortals. Finally, as the two riders disappeared from sight, I resolutely turned my back and set out on the long road back to my lonely house.
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.